I’ve been thinking about the term “Let’s Play” and the term “After Action Report”. I had considered them interchangeable, but I’ve decided there is a difference, and it’s in how the story is delivered. AARs are usually posted on a web page as a story without comment from the audience. Let’s Plays, on the other hand, are usually written up on a forum and often include a lot of reader interaction with the author.
With this handy and sensible definition I’m going to start using the terms on this blog with this distinction in mind.
Thanks to the Steam sale I’ve been playing The Ship again as friends pick up gifted copies. Playing again reminds me why I never played for a long the first time round: I am a great big scaredy-cat when it comes to certain types of gameplay! Am I alone?
Give me a gun and a hallway of aliens, zombies or dragons and I am just fine, but The Ship makes me terrified of going into cruise liner bathrooms least someone beat me to death with a pot or umbrella. I am not actually sure I can enjoy the game fully as I spend a lot of time finding high powered weaponry and then nervously blowing away anyone who gets in my personal space (which in The Ship is anywhere closer than 10m). I realized the other night that my favourite way to play is to sit in an armchair next to a security guard as this is not stressful. Walking around? Madness! A fur coat wearing, pool cue wielding maniac could be around any corner!
Don’t even get me started on proper horror games like Penumbra. I made it up to a wild dog (about 10 minutes in to the first game) and promptly never played again. Or how about Aliens vs Predator? I distinctly remember early in the Human campaign crawling trough some tunnel when a pipe drops that is shaped like a Alien’s head. I think I wet myself a little.
Sadly, I do love a good scary film or story. I guess there’s something about games with high personal threat and a low-power protagonist that just hits all the fight/flight centers in my brain.
Am I alone in this? Does anyone out there love game horror?
So after my previous crying about my League of Legends skills I had a bit of a rethink about how I play. First up, team composition: I’ve started trying to pick my character based on the choices the rest of the team has made. Not that many people bother to do this, so, if you do, you’re pretty much guaranteed to improve the team’s chances of winning. With that in mind I’ve been switching between Rammus, Kennen and Miss Fortune and things have been getting better.
In terms of playing physical carries, as long as I have two competent tanks on the team (and you need at least two, it seems) I’m able to sit at the back of the fight and pew pew to my heart’s content. But, if my team is squishy, it’s pretty much game over. Mind you, playing Miss Fortune blends both burst (her ultimate and her double-up powers) and sustained DPS (her auto-attack). Pretty ideal for my play style right now, now if only I was a better overall player!
I think I might be bad at my current favourite game, League of Legends. I’ve reached level 30 now and so I’m usually solo-queuing (playing with and against random internet people) who are competent, if not quite good, whereas I’m somewhat rubbish.
Oh, I have my good games – I think I can claim to be a capable jungling Rammus, (although he’s just been nerfed due to being over powered) and I can play Mordekaiser quite well (although Morde has no real role in a team fight), but other characters? Not so much.
I would love to be good with Tristana, Miss Fortune, Corki or Sivir – physical damage DPS characters – but unless the team is fairly poor I don’t seem to be able to stay alive to be much use to the team, or if I do live, I mostly seem to tickle the bad guys, not chew them down (the exception would be a high-damage, fast, crit-focused Tristana – but if I’m that fed, I should be able to cut people down). I guess one of the issues is these characters do sustained damage, not burst damage, and I’m just not convinced they’re much use if fights don’t last long. If I’m a phys DPS character, and we’re facing burst DPS types, then usually I’m dead, or I’m forced to run (because others are dead) before I’ve fired more than a few shots. Perhaps I’m doing something wrong?
Recently I’ve been experimenting with more ‘bursty’ characters and I am quite enjoying Kennen. Kennen is fast, applies some pretty great burst damage and has an area-of-effect ultimate power that synergizes well with other AOE-focused characters. As Kennen I can hang on the fringes of a fight, zip in, drop all my burst and then back out. There’s a good chance I’ve killed someone or brought two or three people low enough for the tankier team-mates to finish off. There’s no need to stand there, right clicking, hoping no-one notices me (which seems to be the dominant way you need to play as phys DPS).
Specifics example: Contrast Kennen’s play style with Corki. When I play Corki I have usually end up relying on the long range rockets as standing around right-clicking for auto-attack damage really isn’t safe (he’s damn slow, even with boots of swiftness). The rockets are nice and all, but against all but the squishiest characters they’re not going to kill someone or even take a big chunk off their health (compared to being whacked with a fed Nidalee’s spear, the rockets tickle, even when I’ve been fed). Tanks can pretty much ignore me while messing with the team (perhaps I need Madreds sooner) and if the squishier enemies get involved then if the team are competent I’m spending my time dodging tankier characters trying to eat my face. If I was playing Kennen I have the stuns, speed and burst and these features let me chose the pace of the fight to a greater degree.
My goal is to learn three or maybe four useful characters really well so that when I play ranked games I will be able to bring something useful to the team, no matter how the draft picks are going. Rammus is a good start (and I’m hoping he isn’t banned every ranked game in future) but I need a few more characters under my belt, and my lack of skillz is driving me nuts!
I figure my QQing means that I’m doing something wrong. But I’m not sure what, and I’m not sure how to correct the problem! If you have any recommendations (other than keep playing – I’m only 175 wins, 180 losses in, after all) then please let me know. Perhaps I need to study some awesome feeds or follow some advanced blogs? Or perhaps my bitter tears will short out the computer and solve the problem once and for all!
So it wasn’t a bot, but instead one of the Conduit staffers who got in touch in the end. In case you’re wondering what this is all about Conduit are the people behind the Battlefront Community Tool Bar that, by default, is installed with every Battlefront demo or patch (yes, patches too!).
It’s an interesting email and I thought I would reproduce it here in full to highlight the fact that, by all accounts, the tool bar is entirely benign (something I found as well). That being said, I still find it a strange sort of marketing tool for Battlefront to use, and they deliver it in a strange way. Anyway, here’s the email: Read more…
Word on the street is that the Theater of War 2 demo is out! I was planning on playing and writing up a bit of an AAR along with impressions, but before I’d even got it installed I noticed an interesting observation from forum poster flyinj on QuarterToThree.com. What he observed is that when you install the demo (or, reportedly, just about anything from Battlefront), the demo wants to install a “Battlefront Toolbar”. “Toolbar?” I hear you say. Yes, those things that were all the vogue for marketing companies back in 2003 and are now considered homes of spyware, adware and general evilness. So what’s the story with this thing? Read on for our analysis. Read more…